Boys: time to focus
After a statement 2-0 victory last week against the once undefeated Woodburn Bulldogs, the Eagles would face another Bulldog team, with Hermiston traveling to Hood River for a league battle.
The Eagles came into this game on a three-game winning streak and 1-0 in league play.
Unfortunately, the Eagles were unable to keep their streak alive as they tied with Hermiston 1-1.
The Eagles, however, found themselves clawing back to get into this game when Hermiston took an early lead.
With 14 minutes left in the first half, a shot outside the box by a Bulldog forward snuck past defensive captain Erik Siekkinen and goalkeeper Alejandro Rodriguez, putting Hermiston up 1-0 heading into halftime.
The Eagles would strike quickly in the second half off a Robby Running goal to make it a 1-1 game.
But the scoring would end here for both sides, and after the game the faces of the Eagles’ expressed disappointed in the outcome.
“In my opinion, we weren’t happy with the results because our energy was low compared to theirs; our defensive approach was off too, again, in comparison to the Bulldogs', and what I mean by that is they put more defensive pressure on us than we put on them,” said Head Coach Jaime Rivera.
The Eagles had trouble on the offensive side of the field, and Rivera believes troubles on offense start with the defense.
“My belief is that to generate offense, a team must play quality defense,” he said.
And the defense wasn’t there Tuesday night for the Eagles as they never found the back of the net.
Heading into the last five games of their schedule, with a game on the road this Saturday against Franklin, Rivera knows it doesn’t get any easier from here, as mentally things begin to heat up with playoffs around the corner.
“As I said from day one, if we do not make a deep run into the playoffs, it will not be due to the quality of our skills and players, it will be because of our mental approach,” Rivera said. “And Tuesday night we took Hermiston for granted and they almost made us pay.”
It’s safe to say that composure and focus for this team will be the difference from winning and losing moving forward.
Current league standings: HRV (1-0-1), Hermiston (1-0-1), The Dalles (1-1) and Pendleton (0-2).
Girls: atop league
In the last three games for the HRV girls’ soccer team, they’ve outscored their opponents 14-0, but against Hermiston the scoring onslaught would come to an end.
On Tuesday the Eagles would tie a resilient Bulldog team on the road 0-0.
The tie doesn’t affect the Eagles currently, as they still hold the top spot in the Columbia River Conference.
Although the Eagles couldn’t put up a goal on the scoreboard Tuesday night, “the team played well,” said Head Coach Kevin Haspela.
HRV outshoot Hermiston 14-3, but could never get on the scoreboard.
This game relied heavily on the defensive end for both teams, especially the goalies.
In the first half, Barrett Ihde recorded three saves, “including one clutch diving save in the first half,” Haspela said.
In addition to the great play by Ihde, Haspela said that “the Hermiston keeper also made some great saves today,” evident in the 0-0 tie and 14-3 advantage in shots on goal for the Eagles.
Claire Oswald would step into the box in the second half for Ihde and had no need to make a save as she saw no shots on goal.
HRV heads into the weekend 4-2-1 and plays at Henderson Stadium this Saturday, Oct. 7 against 6A Franklin. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
With only six games remaining this season, the Eagles hope to stay in the top 10 of the OSAA 5A standings — they are currently ranked ninth — and figure if they do so, they’re destined to be crowned for their last Columbia River Conference title.
Current league standings: HRV (1-0-1), The Dalles (1-0-1), Hermiston (0-0-2) and Pendleton (0-2).